Page 1198 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 29 March 2017
MS CHEYNE: free English classes through ACT public libraries, as well as a range of library services such as book borrowing, internet access and social groups; concessional ACTION bus fares; subsidies on transport costs for eligible individuals through the ACT taxi subsidy scheme—
Mr Coe: Talk about ESL in non-government schools.
MS CHEYNE: where they are unable to use public transport due to severe or profound activity limitations; a refugee transitional housing program which provides short-term, on-arrival accommodation for newly arrived refugees in the ACT—
Ms Berry interjecting—
MS CHEYNE: full medical care, including pathology, diagnostic, pharmaceutical and outpatient services in the ACT’s public hospitals; and access to public trustee services, including services to prepare a will or enduring power of attorney direction.
As many people in this room should be aware, but again I am happy to remind the room, an arrangement was reached between the ACT and commonwealth governments, with federal immigration and border protection minister, the Hon. Peter Dutton, accepting the ACT’s request for the ACT to be included in the safe haven enterprise visa scheme in August last year. The SHEV scheme provides hope and certainty to asylum seekers who currently reside in Canberra and who would otherwise face an uncertain future. The ACT’s involvement in the SHEV scheme is a great boost for asylum seekers and underlines the commitment of the ACT government and the broader community to support people seeking asylum and the broader efforts to support refugees and asylum seekers. The ACT government is now working with the commonwealth government to implement the decision.
The citizens of Canberra have a proud record when it comes to promoting social cohesion within our community. The government is keen to continue the task of addressing social exclusion and marginalisation in our community and to create a sense of belonging and wellbeing for all Canberrans. The ACT government has worked tirelessly and has laid the foundation stones in order to achieve these goals and progress a raft of important initiatives. Through the successful implementation of our policies and our practices and the importance of our enduring and valued relationships with our community partners, we are strengthening social inclusion and equality in the ACT community. This process has enabled us to respond more effectively to poverty, deprivation and social disadvantage, as well as cultural and systemic problems that are encountered by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in our community, including homophobia, sexism, racism and violence against women and children.
I hope this time the opposition was listening.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.07), by leave: Thank you very much Madam Assistant Speaker and the Assembly for your indulgence. I thought it was important to put on the record a discussion that just happened across the chamber